Introduction to Public Health Surveillance

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Surveillance is a key function of public health, but what does it mean? This course introduces public health surveillance concepts and principles for public health workers who have little or no prior training in epidemiology. You'll learn about surveillance systems in local, state, and national public health practice and how these important systems are used in tracking diseases and other public health threats.

This course is co-provided by the Northwest Center for Public Health Practice (NWCPHP) and Continuing Nursing Education (UWCNE) at the University of Washington.

Target Audience

Public health practitioners, healthcare providers, data providers and users, representatives of affected communities, governments at the local, state, and federal levels, and professional and private nonprofit organizations.

Objectives for Learning Outcomes

After completing this course, you will be better able to:

  • Define surveillance and discuss its importance to public health
  • Describe at least two different types of surveillance systems
  • Discuss the legal bases for disease reporting and surveillance, which differ by state
  • List the steps in establishing a surveillance system

Additional Information

Course summary
Maximum credit available: 
  • 1.50 Contact hours
  • 0.00 Pharmacology hours at the advanced practice level

James Gale, MD, MS
Professor Emeritus, Department of Epidemiology, University of Washington School of Public Health and Community Medicine, Seattle


Available Credit

  • 1.50 Contact hours
  • 0.00 Pharmacology hours at the advanced practice level


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